Do you know what you need in your bathroom? You need Jim Davis’s 18thGarfield comic strip collection, Garfield Goes to Waist. I know you need this, because my husband recently left his copy in ours (out of his vast collection of them), and now I know that it was what I needed, too. I don’t usually go for comedy like the type featured in these comics, and I found plenty of things wrong with it (more on that later), but overall it was an enjoyable read this week.
I do have a thing for snarky characters. Of all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Raphael was always my favorite (I’m really not sure that Sean Astin, though I love him, is cut out to play him; I always think of Sean as sweet Goonies’s Mikey or Lord of the Rings’s Sam). And Garfield definitely has tons of snark. I actually snorted when I read a cell where Garfield spoke about his grandfather, who was apparently even lazier than he is. He was so lazy, Garfield says, that he wouldn’t even get up to get food; he would just throw his dentures at the fridge.
There are plenty of reasons to not like this book, of course. Normally I love Arlene, who is snarky enough to be Garfield’s girlfriend; he’d have to have someone as sarcastic as he is, right? But in this books, she’s more simpering than anything else, and he actually tells her flat out, “Shut up, Arlene,” in one cell. It’s near the end of the book, though; if it had been at the beginning, I may have shut it earlier.
I also can’t stand how Jon is always chasing women like they’re animals, though his attempt to “beef up” is always funny. In one cell, he’s trying to make a muscle by posing and just can’t manage it—and Garfield mocks him by making one in his tail. Jon never was my favorite character—I’ve always preferred the title fat cat to anyone else, really—and he’s not particularly memorable in the book. (There are moments in some books—and the old TV cartoons—in which he can be very heartwarming, however, particularly when it concerns his mother or grandmother.)
I do love how Garfield is so completely unapologetic about his weight and how he refuses to diet. When he does, he just fails—like anyone else who diets—and doesn’t give a damn. His love of food is always portrayed with gusto, though you know if he were a she it would have an even greater impact. I don’t like the idea of fat characters being portrayed as automatically lazy, but it works with Garfield because he is a cat, and I’ve never met a cat who wasn’t lazy, at least sometimes.
Overall, there are plenty of laughs—about everything from shredded curtains to coffee, and cute scenes where Garfield and Odie wear fruit on their heads and so forth—that make it worth having for some very, very light bathroom reading.